Located 32 miles north of San Francisco, Vallejo is a bustling city in Solano County.
Over a third of the city’s nearly 50-square mile area is water, with Napa River and San Pablo Bay making up its western border.
Before the arrival of Hispanic settlers in the 1830’s, the land in which the city sits on was already inhabited by several of Native American tribes.
The city was named after Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, a California-born Mexican military officer who played a pivotal role in the adoption of California to become a U.S. state.
Today, Vallejo is a thriving city rich in history and embedded with diverse culture from various nationalities around the world.
As with most communities along the San Francisco Bay Area, Vallejo enjoys a cozy Mediterranean climate.
Moreover, the city is home to over 30 parks and recreation areas, making it one of the most family-friendly cities in the state.
Here are the best things to do in Vallejo, California, with kids:
See Amazing Animals at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Located right at the heart of the city, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is Vallejo’s most famous tourist destination.
Covering an area of 135 acres, the amusement park is filled to the brim with fun rides and amazing nature-inspired attractions.
Kids can interact with animals featured in the Wildlife Adventure Tour.
They can witness in awe the majestic sharks swimming above the massive aquarium as they enter the Shark Experience.
They can also watch fantastic bird shows at the Discovery Theater and the majestic tigers at the Odin’s Temple of the Tiger.
Fantastic performances from dolphins and sea lions are also a highlight of the tour.
Moreover, kids will be amazed at the vibrant insects at Butterfly Habitat or the terrifying reptiles at the Alligator Isle.
Additionally, the amusement park features numerous kid-friendly and cartoon-inspired rides like Bugs’ Buccaneer, Foghorn’s Seaport Railway, and Yosemite Sam’s Flight School, just to name a few.
For a quick meal, several restaurants and cafés are also conveniently located within the park.
With tons fun features that everyone can enjoy, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is a must-visit for the entire family.
Frolic at Children’s Wonderland
Located at Glenn Street, Children’s Wonderland is an unmistakable landmark in the city with its distinct and whimsical attractions.
As its name implies, it is virtually a playground showcasing familiar features from popular children stories.
It has a cute train station where kids can ride on tiny train cars.
The park’s play structures also include a pirate ship, a pumpkin wagon, and a firetruck, among others.
There’s also a traditional playground equipped with the usual array of slides, climbing bars, and swings.
Kids can also relax on the shaded picnic areas after a tiring round of running around and playing.
As Vallejo’s go-to recreation area for the young ones, you and your little tykes will have a fun time at Children’s Wonderland.
Go Kite-Flying at Delta Meadows Park
Located along Jack London Drive overlooking the Napa River, Delta Meadows Park covers an area of four acres.
In contrast to many other parks in Vallejo, it is known for its wide obstacle-free open fields.
As such, the park is one of the best places in the city for kite-flying.
The park also has half-basketball courts and a playground with unique structures.
Biking is also one of the things kids can enjoy at the park, thanks to its smooth, paved walkways.
With its great open spaces and fantastic views, Delta Meadows Park isn’t just perfect for kite-flying but for also playing and relaxing.
Go Swimming at Cunningham Aquatic Complex
Located within Castlewood Park, Cunningham Aquatic Complex is Vallejo’s go-to spot for a quick swim to cool off on a hot day.
The aquatic complex features two big swimming pools, one geared primarily for children.
It also facilitates community programs, most notably the After School at the Pool, where local school children learn how to swim and get help with their assignments.
Moreover, Cunningham Aquatic Complex hosts fun water and swimming competitions like lap swimming and water polo.
Cunningham Aquatic Complex may not be packed with fancy features, but its clean swimming pools and friendly environment are enough to provide you and your kids a fantastic time.
Learn Gardening at Vallejo People’s Garden
Vallejo People’s Garden is a tiny oasis located at Azuar Avenue in Mare Island.
Run by volunteers, the community garden is welcome to everyone who wants to visit and learn about gardening.
Established as a way to promote sustainable food sources, it also aims to educate everyone about taking good care of the environment.
You can find various vegetables, fruits, and flowers in the community garden.
It teaches the visitors on gardening techniques and methods like composting and aquaponics.
Moreover, the community garden hosts fun events like Halloween costume parties.
With its friendly vibe and great community atmosphere, Vallejo People’s Garden is a fantastic way to introduce the young ones on the fun and exciting world of gardening.
Play Sports at Dan Foley Park
One of Vallejo’s major public recreation areas, Dan Foley Park is an oasis situated at the heart of the city.
Along with its well-equipped playground, the park also features wide open areas, which are perfect for children to play and run around.
They can also play at the park’s basketball court and the illuminated baseball and soccer fields.
Kids will also love fishing along the picturesque Lake Chabot.
Moreover, you and your kids can also enjoy boating and kayaking at the lake's clean waters.
The park also features several picnic areas with barbecue grills, which are perfect for cookouts.
With its fantastic location and great environment, Dan Foley Park is one of the best places in Vallejo for kids to play and enjoy.
Check the Family-Friendly Events at Solano County Fairgrounds
Solano County Fairgrounds is where the whole community comes together to witness and enjoy fun and exciting activities.
Along with hosting the annual Solano County Fair every June, it also holds various fun events all year long.
One of the most notable events is Youth Age Day, which is especially for children and teens.
As its name implies, the event, which takes place every March, consists of many activities aiming to teach the kids the importance of agriculture, environment, and natural science subjects.
Meanwhile, the fairgrounds transform into a visual spectacle during Light Festival, where landmarks worldwide are featured in the massive lantern designs.
Moreover, fun rides and petting zoos are available during county fairs.
Along with cosplayers and street performers, you'll also entertained by musical concerts and other live acts.
Thanks to its family-friendly events year-long, Solano County Fairgrounds is one of the top places in Vallejo to take the kids along and have fun.
Play at Hiddenbrooke Park
Located along Alder Creek Road, Hiddenbrooke Park is nestled in low-lying hills on the eastern edge of Vallejo.
The park features plenty of play facilities for children.
Kids can have fun on its playground with swings, slides, and play tubes, among other traditional play structures.
They can also play at the basketball and bocce ball courts.
Its wide open play areas are perfect for running around, while the paved pathways are ideal for biking.
Additionally, the park has a number of shaded picnic areas, which are perfect for family gatherings.
A simple park with a number of neat facilities, Hiddenbrooke Park is one of the best places to take the kids for a day of playing.
Take a Tour at The Landing Craft Support Museum
When the Landing Craft Support Vessel LCS(L)(3)-102 retired from its 41-year service in the Royal Thai Navy in 2007, it was the last of its kind that was still in operation.
Prior to its service to a foreign navy, the ship served the U.S. Navy during World War II where it took part in the Battle of Okinawa, as well as in the Philippines until the end of the war.
Realizing the importance of the ship in American history, a group of Navy Veterans extended great effort in bringing home the vessel and restoring it back to its former glory.
Docked at the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, the historic ship has since been transformed into a popular floating museum which is known today as The Landing Craft Support Museum.
Visitors are allowed to tour inside the well-restored ship, which is a great way to introduce the kids about the history of the ship.
Restored down to the little details, the ship’s anti-aircraft guns and cannons are still intact.
Along with the original navigational tools, the museum also features numerous photos and other memorabilia from World War II and its stint at the Royal Thai Navy.
With its great history, fascinating features, and interesting artifacts, The Landing Craft Support Museum is must-visit for everybody.
Take a Tour at Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum
The establishment of the U.S. Navy base in Vallejo in the 1850s cemented the city’s place in naval history as the home of the first American naval base on the West Coast.
Located along Marin Street, Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum is the best place to introduce your young ones about the proud history of the city.
Along with a plethora of navigational tools, among the most fascinating items you can find in the museum include an old submarine periscope and the Dahlgren boat howitzer.
The museum also features scale models of famous vessels from history, such as steamer ships, battleships, and submarines.
Moreover, it showcases various memorabilia from California’s past, including photographs and several pieces of silverware and Americana.
There’s also a gift shop where you can buy souvenirs and books depicting Vallejo's history and people.
A must-visit in the city, Vallejo Naval & Historical Museum offers a great learning experience not only for history buffs but also for everyone, including the children.
Play in the Sand at Crescent Park
Designed primarily for children, Crescent Park is a recreation space located at Poplar Avenue in Vallejo’s Mare Island.
The park is known for its pleasant maritime theme, which also alludes to the naval history of city.
As such, its main attraction is a cool ship-like play structure where kids can climb and run around.
It also contains fun and cute statues of octopuses, sea turtles, and crabs.
Moreover, it features a sand area where kids can dig around and create sand castles.
Kids can also play and run around in the surrounding wide open spaces layered with fresh grass.
A great destination for the kids, Crescent Park’s excellent features make it one of Vallejo’s most memorable playgrounds.
Check the Cool Lego Figures at Brickmania Mare Island
Located along Georgia Street, Brickmania Mare Island is a haven for Lego enthusiasts and kids.
As the name suggests, it’s a toy shop specializing in Lego bricks and figures, with a particular focus on historic military vehicles.
As soon as you step into the store, you’ll see lots of Lego bricks, characters, and other Lego-inspired merchandise.
However, the most amazing item on display is a Lego replica of the legendary American battleship, the USS Missouri.
Spanning 26 feet from bow to stern, the massive replica is intricately made—it even features a crew aboard the ship, all while retaining the distinct Lego charm.
On top of the standard Lego bricks, the store also offers rare Lego pieces and custom-printed mini figures.
Perfect for both kids and adults, Brickmania Mare Island is a must-visit not only for toy enthusiasts.
Relax and Play at Blue Rock Springs Park
Situated on the eastern part of Vallejo, Blue Rock Springs Park is one of the city's most popular public recreation areas.
Its playground has fun features like climbing tubes, slides, and monkey bars.
Dotted with lush trees, the park’s clean open grounds are also perfect for playing and running around.
Biking along the flat paved pathways extending all over the park is also a great activity for the kids.
Kids will also enjoy watching turtles and tiny amphibians in the small pond inside the park.
The park’s scenic views are further complimented by gorgeous peacocks that roam within its premises.
Moreover, it also features picnic areas with barbecue pits, which are perfect for family cookouts.
Thanks to its great playground and cool, relaxing environment, Blue Rock Springs Park is one of Vallejo’s top spots for family recreation.
Visit Mare Island Naval Shipyard
Listed as a National Historic Landmark, Mare Island Naval Shipyard played a crucial role in the transformation of Vallejo into a thriving city that people know today.
Established in 1854, it is the first U.S. naval base in the West Coast.
The shipyard holds the record for the fastest destroyer construction, with USS Ward built in less than 18 days during World War I.
Moreover, it played an important role during World War II, producing submarines and smaller ships to support the war effort.
When the shipyard closed in 1996, its ownership was transferred to Vallejo city government in 2002 and was leased with a new life as a tourist attraction.
One of the most famous landmarks of the shipyard is the sail of a decommissioned U.S. submarine, the aptly-named USS Mariano G. Vallejo.
Many of the shipyard’s old buildings, some dating back from the 1850s, are still standing.
Kids and adults alike will marvel at the towering cranes used to build the ships, along with other fascinating landmarks of the shipyard.
With its awesome history and well-preserved structures, Mare Island Naval Shipyard is a must-visit for everyone.
Other Things to do Nearby
Have Fun at Scandia Family Center
An all-in-one place for family entertainment, Scandia Family Center is accessible via a 20-minute drive from downtown Vallejo to Fairfield, which is located north of the city.
It features a mini-golf with excellent features and landscapes composed of a castle, a windmill, and miniature houses, among other structures.
There are also batting cages where kids and adults alike can hone their batting skills.
Kids will also enjoy driving the go-karts and water bumper boats, as well as engage in laser tag matches.
The family center also features an arcade filled with modern and classic games.
Moreover, smaller children can play to their heart’s content at the Kidz Clubhouse, which has fun features like slides, tubes, and ball pits.
After a tiring hour or two of playing, you and your kids can enjoy a sumptuous meal at the Scandia Café.
With many features that will delight both kids and adults, Scandia Family Center offers a fun and wholesome experience for everybody.
With its vibrant culture and rich history deeply intertwined with California, Vallejo offers a memorable and exceptional experience to visitors.
The city, with its mild climate, invites everyone to enjoy outdoor activities all year long and boasts tons of family-friendly attractions.
The abundance of its public parks alone is a clear indication of the city’s highly accommodating environment, especially for children.
Experience these best things to do in Vallejo, California, with kids.